• CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Acting Bacolod Mayor El Cid Familiaran has directed the Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD) yesterday to round-up all Badjaos roaming around Bacolod City.
Familiaran was designated by Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benitez as acting mayor of Bacolod City from June 19 to 26 while the latter is on an official trip abroad (Europe).
In the past, the Badjaos usually flock to Bacolod from October to December. Familiaran however said he already noted their presence in the city this month.
They will have to send the Badjaos back to Mindanao because if they will be allowed to stay a little longer, they will be able to save enough money for their fare to come back, he said.
Familiaran appealed to the public to refrain from giving alms to Badjaos citing that there is an existing Anti-Mendicancy Ordinance which imposes penalties on those giving alms to mendicants.
Sally Abelarde, officer-in-charge of DSSD-Bacolod, said there were two batches of Badjaos that have arrived in Bacolod City. Some are from Jolo, Sulu, and Cagayan de Oro.
Abelarde said the Badjaos by nature are nomads. They transfer from one place to another begging for alms.
She appealed to the public not to give them alms or else they will keep on coming back because they find Bacolodnons kind and generous and that is why they come here.
According to the Badjaos, they have loaned money from their place to build fishing boats. So, they have to save money to be able to pay their loan when they return to their area, Abelarde said.
The DSSD started rounding-up the Badjaos yesterday, to send them back to Mindanao.*